Let’s talk about some of the most common beliefs – we can call them Myths – about Hookah.
- Hookah is less addictive than cigarettes
- The water that the hookah has filters out smoke and toxins
- Hookah is safer than cigarettes
Well, a hookah is a waterpipe that is used to smoke flavored tobacco. It is used in a group, and the mouthpiece is often shared (ewww – shared germs, anyone?). Flavors can be anything like apple, chocolate, mint and more. And the waterpipe can come in lots of different shapes and sizes. There are even e-hookahs and e-hookah pens now. Hookah has been around for hundreds of years, originating in Asia and in Persia. Just because something has been around for so long doesn’t mean it’s good for you!
Just like cigarettes, hookah smoke delivers right into your lungs, nicotine, carbon monoxide and other toxins like formaldehyde. So, if you see ads out there that hookah gives you the fun part of smoking without the harmful parts of tobacco and cigarettes, you have to know that is simply not true.
What does the water do? Doesn’t it filter the bad stuff out?
The hookah is designed to pass the tobacco smoke through water before you breathe it in. That makes it seem like the water would act like a filter, but it doesn’t. That addictive nicotine and the dangerous compounds in cigarette smoke come right on through. Also, there is charcoal that is used to heat the tobacco; that heated charcoal releases high levels of carbon monoxide itself, along with toxic metals and other dangerous substances, all of which travels right through the water into the smoke that goes into your lungs. You’d probably be SHOCKED to know that actually higher levels of all this stuff comes through in a hookah session than from a cigarette.
What about hookahs vs. cigarettes?
To build on what we just mentioned about higher levels of toxins and nicotine coming through in a single hookah session than from a cigarette, here’s some basic math….(my Mom would love this – she was a high school math teacher!). A hookah session lasts about an hour, on average, an includes about 200 puffs. A cigarette takes about 20 puffs. So you’re getting quite a dose of everything in that hookah session. So, how many cigarettes worth of stuff in a hookah session???? 10 – that’s a half a pack of cigs.
I heard hookah is less addictive than smoking cigarettes?
Not true unfortunately. Like we talked about above, all the content of cigarettes is coming through the waterpipe. And nicotine is INCREDIBLY addictive – especially in developing brains. (ICYMI – your brains are still being built well into your 20s. Check THIS out for more about smoking and nicotine addiction. Just a note, though, you don’t need to smoke a lot of nicotine to show signs of being hooked. Many teens show signs of addiction even at low levels of tobacco use. Low like 3 cigarettes a week. So, that is a THIRD of a typical hookah session. And those brain pathways that are getting built? It takes only a DAY for the brain to rewire itself from a SINGLE dose of nicotine.
Doesn’t matter how you get your nicotine – it’s incredibly addictive. Hookah is no different. And, doesn’t matter that that smoke goes through water before you breathe it in – all the bad stuff comes right on through into you. Risks are the same as smoking cigarettes. Truth. It’s definitely fun to relax and hang out with a group of friends, and hookah cafes seem like a great place to do that. Just try to hang as a group but without that hookah. Try somewhere else. Coffee shop. Basketball court. You get the idea….OK?